Over the past few years, Microsoft has learned a thing or two about balancing their own interests with those of their many hardware partners. Microsoft hasn’t always handled this delicate balance in a smooth fashion, but their failures and missteps certainly give them some perspective that Google currently lacks.
Over the past few months, the number of phones running the Android mobile OS has fanned out into an impressive array of devices, with many handset manufacturers now shifting their focus away from Windows Mobile and towards Android.
The recent release of the Google’s Nexus One, however, puts Google in the unenviable position of having to compete directly with its partners. Think about it – in less than a week, we’ve seen people stop talking about the Motorola Droid as an iPhone killer and start talking about the Nexus One as a Droid killer.
In an interview at CES last week, Microsoft’s Robbie Bach, who heads up Redmond’s Entertainment and Devices Division, detailed the challenges Google will face by competing with its partners.
Doing both in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult. Google’s announcement sends a signal where they’re going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we’ll pursue them.
Speaking to BusinessWeek, analyst Michael Gartnerberg added that “no one has ever succeeded in selling their own device while trying to license to partners simultaneously. As much as Google can say it’s not a Google phone, the phone says Google on it. They’re going to have to convince their licensees they’re not in competition with them.”
But the funny thing is that their licensees are well aware of what Google is up to, only they’re just so happy to be somewhat relevant after being caught off-guard with the iPhone that they’re willing to live with Google’s double dipping, at least for the time being.